At around noon local time, reports emerged of a major pipeline leak inside the Kinneil Gas plant in Grangemouth. The facility is owned by a company called Ineos, which has pioneered the use of so-called “dragon ships” to carry gas liquids like ethane and butane from Pennsylvania across the Atlantic Ocean to be used in plastics manufacturing.
Ineos is owned by anti-union billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who calls these massive ships a “virtual pipeline.” His profiteering poses a threat to public safety in Pennsylvania by driving more fracking across a state already devastated by drilling. And it poses serious threats in Scotland too, as today’s incident makes clear.
Breaking news reports indicate that some nearby roads are closed, and students at schools in the area have been kept inside for safety.
While it is too early to determine the magnitude of today's leak, powerful players in the United States-- from the White House to the Energy Department to the office of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf--are pushing policies that will result in more drilling to serve the plastics industry. If they get their way, there will be more such disasters to come.
It's more proof that the fight against dangerous drilling must be global. At the moment, on-the-ground activism in Pennsylvania is directed at stopping the 350-mile Mariner East 2 pipeline, which is tied to the liquids exporting business championed by Ineos. Elise and Ellen Gerhart are fighting to stop Sunoco from taking their property via eminent domain. And there are other grassroots coalitions, like the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, driving local opposition to the project.